The Q&A Archives: Pets in the Yard

Question: I have just bought a house where the previous owners kept pets (a dog and a pig) in the backyard. Is there anything special I need to do to the yard before I begin planting a garden?

Answer: We usually tell people to avoid the use of cat, dog and pig manure in their vegetable gardens, because of the possibility of pathogens contaminating their crops. Till the area and add some organic matter then plant your crops. Try to keep a mulch betweenthe edibile portions of your veggies and the soil, to avoid the splashing of water and possible contaminates onto your produce. By next year the soil should be okay without the precautionary mulch barrier. It's a good idea to mulch, any way - to helpretain moisture and nutrients.

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